Write your screenplay: from idea to first draft

Course Dates: 29/03/25
Time: 10:30 - 16:30
Location: Online
A good screenplay starts with a good story but it also needs structure, good characters and interesting twists. This is a course for writers who have an idea they think is ready to go. We’ll look at the best ways to grab the viewers’ attention from the off, and at the end of the course you’ll get a chance to pitch your ideas.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £79.00 Senior fee £79.00 Concession £40.00

Write your screenplay: from idea to first draft
  • Course Code: HW650
  • Dates: 29/03/25 - 29/03/25
  • Time: 10:30 - 16:30
  • Taught: Sat, Daytime
  • Duration: 1 session
  • Location: Online
  • Tutor: Clive Ford

Course Code: HW650

Sat, day, 29 Mar - 29 Mar '25

Duration: 1 session

Any questions? writing@citylit.ac.uk
or call 020 4582 0415

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Centre for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

You have an idea for a script and want to start work on it, but you need to find out if your story is ready. Is it relatable? Is your premise clear and your setting interesting? Is your story original? Are your turning points earned and your shifts in mood convincing? What does the protagonist in your story really want? Are their needs and goals properly defined? Does your character have a strong enough motivation to stay the course?

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

On this weekend workshop you will take part in exercises that will explore new ways of looking at your project and characters to make sure the project is in a good shape to begin your first draft. All the exercises will be based around things you can work into your own script. We will take a deep look at effective openings, character, structure and turning points.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Produce a basic structure/outline for a screenplay
- Create a well-rounded, original protagonist with a strong central goal.
- Identify themes that are present in the narrative and expand upon them
- Explain the importance of creating a strong, clear, dynamic opening scene that grabs the readers attention in the first 10 pages of your screenplay and keeps them hooked throughout.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This is a course for people who have an idea they think is ready to write and want to explore the story in a workshop environment.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Through discussion, presentations, viewing of film and TV extracts and use of the internet. Also exercises both during and outside the class evaluated by tutor and peers.

For people to get the maximum benefit from the workshop students should have an idea they wish to explore that they bring with them, this course is for people with an existing idea who wish to explore the story and produce some draft pages.

All writing courses at City Lit will involve an element of workshop. This means that students will produce work which will be discussed in an open and constructive environment with the tutor and other students. The college operates a policy of constructive criticism, and all feedback on another student’s work by the tutor and other students should be delivered in that spirit.

For classes longer than one day regular reading and writing exercises will be set for completion at home to set deadlines.

City Lit Writing endeavours to create a safe and welcoming space for all and we strongly support the use of content notes in our classes. This means that learners are encouraged to make their tutor and classmates aware in advance if any writing they wish to share contains material that may be deemed sensitive. If you are unsure about what might constitute sensitive content, please ask your tutor for further clarification and read our expectations for participating in writing courses at City Lit.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Pen, paper or whatever electronic writing device you wish. There will be writing!

Learners will get more from the course when they have a project to apply the exercises to.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

This would be a perfect workshop to attend prior to signing up for 'Developing your screenwriting' or 'Screenwriting for feature film'.

All students are invited to join us at Late Lines, our regular performance night for City Lit writers. Students are also encouraged to submit their work to Between the Lines, our annual anthology of creative writing. For the latest news, courses and events, stay in touch with the Department on Facebook and Twitter.

Clive Ford

Clive Ford writes for film and stage. He graduated from UAL with an MA in screenwriting. He currently works as a lecturer at the University of Creative Arts in Farnham and at the University of Bedfordshire where he teaches writing for the screen.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.